Our February speakers were volunteers from the Helston Railway Society, a group whose ambition is to reopen (eventually) all of the old branch line from Gwinear Road to Helston which was shut down by Dr. Beeching in the 1960s.
It was in October 2005 that volunteers began the mammoth task of clearing 40 years of vegetative growth from the first part of the line, since when one and a half miles of track between Prospidnick and Truthall have been reinstated. The first trains to run on the newly opened track were diesel, but the Railway now has its own steam engine, “William Murdoch” to pull the converted brake vans which form the passenger fleet.
Some of us could remember riding on the Helston branch line before its closure while others had parents who did so in days past (including the airmen and navy personnel stationed at Culdrose during and after the Second World War. Few of us, however, were aware so much work had been done to bring the line back into use – let alone that it had won a national award for the Best Preserved Railway!
The Helston Railway re-opens to the public in April and many of us will be making trip this summer to make the half-hour ride up and down the line.